Students plan an event of their choice start to finish as if they were an event planner. Paying attention to details is essential. The students created a diorama showing the look and feel of their event, and a booklet that contains their budget, floor plan, guest list, To-Do list, menu, and time schedule. They also make an invitation, an item off their menu, and sample decoration for their event. Finally, the students set up a table show casing the event that they planned at the school’s art exposition.
Since I teach semester culinary classes, Valentines Day comes up around the time that I am going over how to measure correctly. I use this lab for my culinary II students who already have learned how to measure correctly so instead of demonstrating the techniques I have them show me that they remember how to measure correctly by making this recipe. This lab also allows them to get familiar with their kitchens and lab group. Obviously this recipe or any other cookie recipe could be used to produce the same results—students proving that they know how to measure different ingredients.
Teaching the elements and principles of design gets monotonous. There are always the traditional standbys like having students find a magazine picture and label the elements and principles, but I was looking for something more creative. With the holiday season in full swing I wanted to make a gingerbread house for a friend so I decided to make the inside of a gingerbread house using the elements and principles of design. Not into the whole gingerbread thing? The same idea can be used to create a diorama out of a shoe box and it will save you the time baking.
By law culinary programs cannot compete with their local food service, however this does not apply to faculty and staff. Some schools have their students take lunch orders from faculty and deliver their lunches to their rooms in a boxed lunch fashion. Another way to do it is to host the lunch in the culinary or faculty room itself and have faculty and staff pay at the door. This gives the students the opportunity to practice both the front and back of the house.
Another great way to teach students how to bake in mass quantity, maintain quality control, and market food attractively is to sell boxes of several kinds of Christmas cookies. My students made boxes of 3 dozen Christmas cookies including peanut butter kisses, chocolate crinkle, Russian Tea Cakes, gingerbread, sugar, raspberry thumb prints and coconut macaroons. The community generously supports the fundraiser often profusely thanking me for making their holidays easier.
A great way to raise money for a big trip is to sell food during sporting events or other after school events. Culinary students can actually make the food and decide on a menu and pricing. This allows students to taken ownership for trips that they go on and learn business skills. It is best especially for high school students to show them how to price things and allow them to come up with ideas to market their products. I view it as first a learning experience and secondly an income generator.